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PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH UNION., Issue 10456, 28 October 1897
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH UNION.
DISCUSSION IN THE SYNOD.- ;: TTponfche Synod resuming this inoriiirig the discussion on the question. of union,between the Presbyterian Churchof Otagb: and Southland and the.Presbyterian Church of New Zealand was resumed. ■ .'.'■•'•' '■'■'■ On the motion of the P.ev. A. M. FraEAYSON, seconded by the Key. ,J. Uibb, the por'tioni.of the report on union referring to the sessions of Hampden amVCromwell having voted ttfiee was deleted. . ".' <^;_-.."• ■ "■'■._','. ,l:Cl The Kev. Ja Chisholm said that miserable divisions Pieabyterianiam had a fair show, and hi New Zealand they-were doing their utmost to continue this. It seelnfei to him that if the church was to -do' its proper work and fulfil its legitimate functions in this colony they must have a united church. Bhould take every means of showing'.the fltnesß of Pfesbyterianism to mould publw;life,-And that could beit be done by a united front. He was one of the few: who all- along had "been consistently in support of union,- and he could tell members that the history of the Sunioh struggle was a very sad one. For the sake of their common , Presbyterianism they ..should hasten on the approach of the umbn. "What difficulties remained were easily got rid of, and there was nothing standing in the way of the two churches uniting th»irforces. : He had much' pleasure in supporting the motion proposed: by th 3 Kev. Mr Gibb. . " ; '..'' Mr A.'C. Begg, in the course.of his 1 Bpeechj ■ said that according to the address the Synod could, if they chose, change 'their, creed at any tima. Now, it : was true *hai'the church had power to change her creeds-but a synod or assembly, had; no such power, The Moderator's opinion was based upon, a certain legal opinion. :'■".,.■. .... .... ....... The Moderator : That address was.for the most part written before, I saw that legal ojinjop. What inspired my words w.asJ_ijEjyqyi want to know, the conduct of the Opponent's of union. - ■■'.■'•'■'?.': : "\ Mr Begg : "Well, that opinion is quoted in the published address, and from that I presumed that it was based on it. Continuing, Mr Begg said he disagreed with "the argument that New Zealand was too small for having two Presbyterian Churches. Why, New Zealand was as large in area as Great Britain, and it would just be as reasonable to say that ic Was a sin that there, should" be more than one Presbyterian Church there as io say it was a sin that we should have two here. -He maintained that New Zealand' was' not favorable, geoßraphically, :.'- for -having brie church, and if union waß carried out they would have a very small and inadequate representation in Wellington; and they would gradually into a system, not of Presbyterianism, but-a system of bastard episcopacy.—(Applause.) The church would be run by a coterie of ministers, who would be nominally if not practically bishops. A great many of'"the country ministers and elders would bepraotii cally snuffed out. Referring to the property of the church, Mr Begg said that Mr Gibb had very confidently asserted that no Government dared to confiscate their lands. Why, at the present time there was a Minister of the Crown actually bringing forward a Bill to cbnfiscate the land which the Supreme '.'.Oo'utt had said was the property of a 'certain man. He warned the Synod not;, to place their trust in princes and (Applause.) In conclusion Mr Begg said that they wanted to have the true essence of Presbyi terianism, which was democracy, and unless they had that Presbyterianism would never have the influence it should have. it. •■ Mr Keith Ramsay said they had gone too far in the matter.of union to draw back now,' and unless some very strong reasons why they should withdraw were brought forward it wou'd be very much to the discredit and dishonor of the Presbyterian Church of Otago if they'went back on their attitude at laßt Synod. The property bogey had been raised, but for his part he was .;' Spared to-say "Perish their propeity 1° if it keep them* from union with ■Brhern brethren. He maintained that lha TiTOe incurred by holding alternate meetings- VK* ington was no barrier to union, and wouldro3lbney well spent, because of the very it would have upon ministers.
Dr Copland said there was great necessity for getting back to thu question of union. They praotically had union in New Zealand now, and those from other countries who had so strongly urged union on them really did not know the circumstances of the cas<>. It had been asked what the question of marriage wittmleceased wife's siater had to do with union. He maintained that it had a great deal to do with it, and had been the means of preventing hinV at any rate, of casting in his lot with the unionists. That was why he was a along with others, and they were determined when the opportunity arose, should union be carried, t> try and undo the mischief that hail been done. There had been no true reason presented why they should have union. There had been a great deal of sentiment presented, but it wa3 sentiment wrongly used and misdirected.
The Rev. J. M. M'Kerrow said there was verv little allegation or substantiation, at any. rate, in the speech of Mr Sutherland. TheyTjaa" b»en told that there was no call for unipn. becauee the two churches were on good and friendly terms. Was it necessary for a man and woman to be on bad terms before they were married. Why,, the mere fact that the twochurches were on good terms was a very strong argument in favor of their union. Although they were not altogether committed to the union, it would bo distinctly dishonorable to back out now, especially on such paltry excuses as had. been put forward. They were in the struggle, and must, in honor to themselves and their Lord and Master, carry it through. Notwithstanding what had been said about tW difference between synods and churches, he maintained that the Synod was in reality the ohurch; they spoke and acted for them in the same way that the local body acted for the municipality, and when the Synod voted for union they did so for the church.
Mr W. Hutchison supported the union proposals. He had a great deal of respeot for many of those who were on the opposite side. Seme of them were men'who had been identified with the work of the church in Otago from the earliest times, and had borne the heat and burden of the day. But although he sympathised with these gentlemen personally he could not do so in the matter of the arguments that they put forward. As regarded the expense of holding the assembly at Wellington the cost had been put down at £I,OOO. Even if it was that amount it was not so formidable as im" sought to be made out. It was to be distributed over the ohurches of theoolony, and would be. no very severe Btrain on the individual chuVuliw, He strongly discountenanced the dragging in oi. the marriage wi hj a. deceased wife's sister *as argument against uni n. Ho had always'opposed that bind of marriage, but It was little short'of a redtictio ad absurdum to'make it amatter of vital importanoe on the present dues* tion. He did not approve of the proposed J3HI, and thought that ton second clause in it was essentially Erastian, inasmuch as it asked Par* liament to grant the uniting of the two churches spiritually and ecclesiastically. That did not matter a great deal however, as the Bill would not pass in anything like its present foftn. . -. Dr Dunlop, replying to a statement made in the-latter part of Mr Hutchison's speech, made an explanation regarding the opinion bT Sir Robert Stout, which had been published. He said he did not know who had BBked for ihst opinion or who paid for it. He knew absolutely' nothing about it but that he (Sir Robert Stout>. had asked him for the loan of a particular speech delivered by Dr Candlisbj and with which he (Dr Dunlop) had furnished him.—(Applause.) The Rev 3. A. M. Finlayson and E. C. Tennant briefly addre3Bed the Synod in support of the union proposals, and the Kev. J. M. Davidson spoke against them. At one o'clock, on the motion of the Rev. D. Bobbie, the debate was adjourned untih severn o'clock this evening.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH UNION., Issue 10456, 28 October 1897
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